Daily Management Review

Measure To Eradicate Mycoplasma Disease Will See 100,000 Cows Culled In New Zealand


Measure To Eradicate Mycoplasma Disease Will See 100,000 Cows Culled In New Zealand
The largest animal slaughter in the history of New Zealand is set to be held as the country becomes the first in the world to attempt to eradicate the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis by culling cows to the tens of thousands.
An agreement has been reached between the government and farming sector leaders to slaughter about 126,000 cows at an expense of over NZ$800m ($560m) in a period of 10 years in their efforts to save the national dairy herd and secure productivity in the long-term from the farming sector. this sector is the second biggest export earner for the country.
Mycoplasma bovis is a disease that is seen in cows leading to severe pneumonia, ear infections and other symptoms and was first identified in New Zealand in July 2017.
37 properties in the country have been identified to be “active” with the disease despite the government and farmers culling about 26,000 cows ever since the disease was first identified.
Earlier this year, the disease has spread and reached the North Island despite initially being confined to the farms in the South Island.
The manner in which the disease managed to spread and virtually leap between two islands is being investigated by the New Zealand and the Ministry of Primary Industries.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This is a tough call – no one ever wants to see mass culls. But the alternative is to risk the spread of the disease across our national herd. We have a real chance of eradication to protect our more than 20,000 dairy and beef farms, but only if we act now.
“Speaking with affected farmers in recent weeks it is obvious that this has taken a toll, but standing back and allowing the disease to spread would simply create more anxiety for all farmers.”
Ardern said that because the disease had only been found in only one strain and because it has not become widespread, it is possible to eradication the disease completely.
With the country producing 3 per cent of all of the global dairy products, New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy ion the world.
According to estimates of the government, in just ten years, NZ$1.3bn in lost production could be the cost to the dairy industry in the country is the disease is allowed to spread unchecked.
The budget that would be used in the culling was described as “conservative” by the finance minister. He said that the money was being kept secured to deal with adverse events.
Ardern said that the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak was the “rainy day” the government was planning for.